I lay awake in the middle of the night as I sometimes do, adrift in that yawning chasm of lonesome silence in which my ego thoughts spring to life like taunting little toys, raucously reviewing problems large and small, worldly and intimate. Helplessly, hopelessly, pondering the state of the union and the state of my sun-damaged skin. The status of my little dog’s hurt leg, and the safest place to sit in a movie theater to avoid death by insane gunman. The escalating rhetoric in the presidential campaigns and the possible infection of my recently scraped toes. Looming work deadlines, the bitter sweetness of my daughter’s impending return to college, and what to do with the tiny golden beets I’d scored at the Farmers’ Market.
I asked to see things differently—through the eyes of the inner teacher of love instead of fear—over and over again, but nothing happened. I popped another magic herbal supplement and breathed deeply, tensing and then relaxing my muscles, head to toe. I squeezed the insomnia acupressure points on my ears and visualized the waves on my favorite beach rhythmically lapping the idyllic shore. I envisioned my chakras spinning in synchronized harmony. Still, I remained awake, increasingly concerned about the encroaching busyness of my Monday versus the guaranteed fatigue of my body if I couldn’t fall back to sleep for at least a couple hours.
I thought about the way I had often lay awake like this as a child, focused on every little creak in the house, the lights of an occasional, passing vehicle lunging wolf-like across the walls, the menacing rumble of the refrigerator, the hiss and tick of the hot-water heater, the roar of a distant jet perhaps launched by the Commies to bomb Manhattan a ways down the river. The possibility–however remote–that the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz had escaped the castle once and for all and were, at this very moment, winging their way up the Hudson toward a target with my name on it. In more ways than I cared to consider, I was still that frightened child, stranger in a strange land just waiting for the punishment I secretly knew I deserved for running away from home like every other frightened child here on planet crazy.
Eventually I drifted off to troubled dreams, the last of which found me alone in a pitch-black forest, immobilized with terror that any forward movement might mean stepping into a trap or a land mine. Breath held, seemingly paralyzed, willing myself invisible to nocturnal predators, I suddenly became aware of my hand nestled inside the perfect-fitting glove of a larger one. Embraced by the abrupt certainty that I would see my way through, if I could simply dare to place one foot in front of the other, and continue to hold that hand.
And so I did. Despite my crushing fear, I drew a deep breath, raised my right foot and set it down, followed by the left. Each time I did so, the path suddenly revealed itself in the light at my feet as if an invisible someone were flipping on an invisible flashlight. I walked faster and more certain then, and as I did, the light grew steady, revealing just enough of the path before me to prevent me from stumbling.
I awoke thinking about A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 247: “Without forgiveness I will still be blind.”
“… For forgiveness is the only means whereby Christ’s vision comes to me. Let me accept what His sight shows me as the simple truth, and I am healed completely. (Lines 3 and 4).”
And I realized that although I’d been begging to see things differently, I hadn’t been willing to get Susan out of the way. I was still standing guard–wedded to the ego’s deliberate blindness and dubious security–trying to puzzle out solutions to non-existent problems while unwilling to take the hand of my right mind that would lead me toward the light of perfect oneness I really craved. I was still unwilling to fully acknowledge the pervasive darkness of the shameful, bereft belief in separation and fully trust in the inner teacher of forgiveness. Whose X-Ray vision penetrates the illusory facade of our many problems to the “tiny, mad, idea” of the one problem that never really occurred, our impossible, devastating dreams notwithstanding.
Now illuminated by the light of our right mind, I saw that I didn’t need to do anything about my perceived sleeplessness because I was never really awake here in this dream of exile from all-inclusive, non-differentiated love in the first place. I didn’t need to do anything about the problems and distractions that seemed to be keeping me awake either. I only needed to stop attributing my distress to outside causes and deliver the darkness of my illusions back to the light of one mind. Where Jesus–that symbol of our unalterable oneness–waits patiently to lead each and every seeming one of us through the dense clouds of our tortured dreams to the one real home we never really left.
It all comes down to trust. To my still intermittent but gradually growing willingness to grasp that hand in the darkness and put one foot in front of the other, allowing the part of my mind that can truly see to light my way. Although my body is tired this morning as I write these words it no longer concerns me. And I am a little more willing to embrace the possibility that I am not a singular body but a unified mind. Capable of choosing the guide that will lead me to the awareness that I have never left our one and only, blessedly formless, infinitely integrated home.
“So would I look on everyone today. My brothers are Your Sons. Your Fatherhood created them, and gave them all to me as part of You, and my own Self as well. Today I honor You through them, and thus I hope this day to recognize my Self. (Paragraph 2).”
Susan Dugan’s books Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, and Forgiveness: The Key to Happiness are available at RMMC and on Amazon. She writes about ACIM based on Ken Wapnick’s teachings at ForaysInForgiveness.com and teaches Tuesday nights at RMMC.